"American Vampire" #27 is the final part of a two issue arc where Riccardo Burchielli fills in for initial arc artist Roger Cruz. The contrast of art is quite jarring and not completely successful. Luckily, Scott Snyder still drops an enjoyable tale, as he always does. In fact, if you're paying attention, you'll start to see some things tying together here that will make the future of "American Vampire" extremely exciting.
This is the moment where Scott Snyder openly widens the scope of the series. This arc might be small at two issues but the main thrust behind it is something much larger. We discover the truth behind the term "vampire" in this world and ponder the further implications of this reveal. Snyder casts a wide net, successfully capturing everything he needs. What was hinted at in the "Survival of the Fittest" miniseries comes to the fore in a talky scene which will have readers scrubbing each word for meaning and losing an afternoon considering the possibilities.
The character of Agent Poole of the Vassals of the Morning Star is an intriguing addition to the cast. His personal profile matched with his agent status give us a great understanding of him as a man as well as the organization to which he is affiliated. He toes the line between introspective sleuth and shadow lurking action star. It's an interesting fit and enough to make us want to see more.
Burchielli's art is by no means bad on this book, it's just not a very aligned fit. "American Vampire" is as defined by Rafael Albuquerque's art as it is Snyder's words. Replacing Albuquerque has always been difficult, but this issue shows the largest stretch from his style. Burchielli is one of the best at what he does, but what he does isn't draw creatures of the night fighting. If you go through each page you'll see plenty of examples of where he excels, but in the end it's too jarring to completely lose yourself. It's like watching the world's best male actor play a female role; it'll always feel just that bit off.
Likewise with the colors, Dave McCaig does a great job bringing depth and detail to the world, as he does with every issue, but it doesn't work as well here. McCaig's style doesn't flow with Burchielli's and the result is a comic that feels as though it's playing pretend. It knows the words and puts on the big shoes but it can't walk a straight line consistently. It really just feels like a '90s Vertigo comic. While those books were good, "American Vampire" is not one of them.
"American Vampire" #27 needs to be read so you can enjoy the spectacle of story and world building. Snyder is pushing this title up to the next speed and many of the gear shifts are right here. They're mostly in the words -- probably for the best for just one month because the art might have had difficulty conveying it.